Category: Bats (Page 1 of 2)

Celebrating #PollinatorWeek 2021

Let’s get ready to celebrate Pollinator Week.

Reading children’s books is great way to learn more about pollinators. Afterwards, do some of the activities suggested below.

But first, what is pollination and what is a pollinator?

Pollination is an essential process that allows plants to grow healthy fruit and seeds. Scientifically, pollination occurs when pollen (the colorful powdery dust) is moved from male part (anther) of a flower to the female part (stigma) of the same or another flower.

A pollinator carries the pollen from flower to flower so that pollination happens. Although when we hear the word “pollinator” we generally think of bees, many different animals act as pollinators.

Children’s books:

In No Monkeys, No Chocolate by Melissa Stewart, Allen Young, and illustrated by Nicole Wong young readers learn that cacao trees need the help of a menagerie of rain forest critters to survive: a pollen-sucking midge (previous post), an aphid-munching anole lizard, and brain-eating coffin fly maggots. Reviewed at Wrapped in Foil.

In Flower Talk: How Plants Use Color to Communicate by Sara Levine and illustrated by Masha D’yans a snarky purple cactus narrator explains why plants “talk” to animals via their flowers and how they entice the animals to carry their pollen from place to place.

POLLEN: Darwin’s 130-Year Prediction by Darcy Pattison and illustrated by Peter Willis reveals how long it may take for science to find an answer to a problem. In 1862, naturalist Charles Darwin received a box of orchids. When he saw one of the flowers, the Madagascar star orchid, he wondered how insects could pollinate it, and he made some predictions that it was a moth.

Fast forward 130 years. In 1992, German entomologist, Lutz Thilo Wasserthal, Ph.D. traveled to Madagascar. By then, the moths were rare. He managed to capture two moths and released them in a cage with the orchid. Would they pollinate the orchid as Darwin had predicted?

Although it is more about who and what eats flies, 13 Ways to Eat a Fly by Sue Heavenrich and illustrated by David Clark features some flies that pollinate plants (previous review).

A Place for Butterflies by Melissa Stewart and illustrated by Higgins Bond showcases twelve North American butterflies―from the familiar eastern tiger swallowtail to the rare Palos Verdes blue butterfly―and the ecosystems that support their survival.

A Place for Bats by Melissa Stewart and illustrated by Higgins Bond features twelve types of North American bats, from the familiar little brown bat to the Mexican free-tailed bat.


Related Activities

Disclosure:  One of the books mentioned above was provided by the publisher. The rest were from the library or are my personal copies. I am an affiliate with Amazon so I can provide you with cover images and links to more information about books and products. As you probably are aware, if you click through the highlighted title link and purchase a product, I will receive a very small commission, at no extra cost to you. Any proceeds help defray the costs of hosting and maintaining this website.

Bat #kidlit In Time for Halloween

Right in time for Halloween, we have the children’s book Amazing, Misunderstood Bats by Marta Magellan with photographs by Merlin Tuttle.

Author Marta Magellan starts by explaining all the ways that bats are helpful, including that bats:

  • Pollinate plants
  • Disperse seeds
  • Eat tons of insect pests
  • Make a source of fertilizer (guano)

Then she explodes some of the common bat myths, such as bats are not blind at all. Finally, she explains why bats are fun.

We love back matter, and this book has many extra facts about bats, a glossary, selected references, and even an index.

The best part is the amazing photographs used to illustrate the book, many by famous bat scientist Merlin Tuttle.

Activity:  View a Nightly Bat Emergence

Bats rest during the day and hunt for food at night. During the warmer months of the year, there are areas where you can watch bats fly out in vast numbers during their evening emergence. Note:  check in advance for any viewing restrictions due to Covid.

A few examples include:

Recently here in Phoenix bats were caught emerging on weather radar.

Bring along a notebook to sketch the bats and jot down your observations. Think about how scientists estimate the numbers of bats emerging, and look for common bat behaviors. What do you smell? What do you hear? Can you feel anything, like the air moving due to the bats’ wings?

Check out what to expect by watching the bats at Old Tunnel State Park in this video.


Five bat science activities (previous post)

Fly on over and see our growing list of children’s books about bats at Science Books for Kids.


Ages: 6-10
Publisher : Eifrig Publishing (January 9, 2020)
ISBN-10 : 1632332116
ISBN-13 : 978-1632332110

Disclosure: This book was provided electronically by the publisher. Also, I am an affiliate with Amazon so I can provide you with cover images and links to more information about books and products. As you probably are aware, if you click through the highlighted title link and purchase a product, I will receive a very small commission, at no extra cost to you. Any proceeds help defray the costs of hosting and maintaining this website.

Come visit the STEM Friday blog each week to find more great Science, Technology, Engineering and Math books.

Two New Bat Science Books for Kids

With Halloween just around the corner, our thoughts turn to the creatures of the night. To learn more, let’s take a look at two new children’s books about bats.

Our first title is the picture book The Secret Life of the Little Brown Bat
by Laurence Pringle and illustrated by Kate Garchinsky, which came out in September.


Follow Otis the bat pup as he grows into an adult bat. Explore how he feeds, learns about dangers, finds a place to hibernate, and even how he lands upside down.

In the back matter, Pringle explains that the little bat’s name comes from the generic name for the species:   Myotis lucifugus. Although the text appears to be deceptively simple, it is full of detailed scientific information dressed up in an easy-to-follow story.

Garchinsky’s pastel illustrations are mesmerizing. She says in the dedication that she was inspired by her new nephew’s smile. The joyous faces of the bats reflect that.

The Secret Life of the Little Brown Bat is a perfect introduction to bats for young readers.

Age Range: 6 – 9 years
Publisher: Boyds Mills Press (September 11, 2018)
ISBN-10: 9781629796017
ISBN-13: 978-1629796017

Public domain image of little brown bat by Moriarty Marvin, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Yes, little brown bats are cute.

Next we have a title for middle grade readers, Bat Citizens:  Defending the Ninjas of the Night by Rob Laidlaw.

The “bat citizens” from the title are young people from around the world who study bats and let others know how they can help conserve them. Meet Truth Miller from New York, Dara McAnulty from Northern Ireland, and Eleanor and Samson Davis from Australia, among others.

In between the descriptions of the kids and their projects are interesting facts about bats. The center features a fold-out illustration of the anatomy of a hoary bat. The back matter includes lists of 14 ways you can help bats and organizations that help bats.

Bat Citizens introduces young ambassadors for bats in a way that is likely to inspire others to get involved in science and conservation efforts. It is a great choice for budding scientists and conservationists alike.

Age Range: 8 – 12 years
Publisher: Pajama Press (May 11, 2018)
ISBN-10: 1772780391
ISBN-13: 978-1772780390

Activity Suggestions:

First, see our previous post with five bat science activity suggestions.

Bats and Plants

We’ve all heard about how important bats are because they eat a lot of insects, but bats also help out plants.


Here in the Sonoran Desert, lesser long-nosed bats are nectarivores, which means they feed on the sweet fluids produced by saguaro cactus flowers. As the bats fly from plant to plant they pick up pollen and transfer it to the next flower. This pollinates the saguaro.

Over 300 species of plants, and possibly more than 500, are pollinated by bats. For example, fruit bats are the main pollinators of African baobab tree. To entice bats to visit, the flowers open at night when bats are active. They are often white and many emit strong odors that help the bats locate them.

Seed dispersal

Other bats are frugivores, which means they eat fruit. Using their large eyes and noses, the bats find and eat bananas, mangoes, guavas, figs etc. When digestion is completed, they drop the seeds with their excrement, spreading the seeds around to grow in new places.

Do your own research

Investigate a few plants that are pollinated by bats. Find out what species of bats pollinate them, where the plants grow, and what time of year they flower. Try to discover what disperses the seeds of the plant. Are there any plants that bats both pollinate and disperse the seeds?

Gather images of the plants and bats, and use them to create a poster or slide show. Be a “bat citizen” and communicate to others what you have found out about the benefits of bats .

Want to learn more? Check out our growing list of children’s book about bats at Science Books for Kids.

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